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Meet The Tri-State Sister Who Has Given Blood For 60 Years

Sr. Damien Hinderer is one of 15 people selected for the 2019 Blood Donation Hall of Fame.
Sr. Damien Hinderer is one of 15 people selected for the 2019 Blood Donation Hall of Fame.

Try to wrap your head around this: For the last six decades, Sister Damien Hinderer has been donating blood. For about 50 of those years, the 77-year-old has been making bi-monthly trips to Hoxworth Blood Center to donate blood platelets. The 81 gallons she's donated is more than enough to get Hinderer in the Blood Donation Hall of Fame.

Hinderer's calling for blood donation began in 1960 when a fellow sister was in need. In the 1970s, Hoxworth discovered she was a prime candidate to donate blood platelets, the agent that clots blood. From then on she began donating triple platelets every visit, equating to 72 lifesaving units of platelets a year.

Sr. Damien laughs."I just kept coming and coming. I also do white cells. These are for very small children who are critically ill."

"There are no artificial substitutes for blood or platelets - it cannot be made in a lab, and it has to come from volunteer blood donors," says Hoxworth's Director Dr. Jose Cancelas. "Without selfless donors like Sister Damien, Hoxworth and other blood centers across the nation could not carry out their lifesaving work. We are grateful for and humbled by Sister Damien's commitment to helping others through blood donation!"

Hoxworth's Jackie Marschall can't get over the 81 gallons. She is at the one-gallon point. "I'm like so ecstatic about it and to hear that she has 81 - I've got 80 more gallons to go!"

On Dec. 12, 2019, representatives from Hoxworth and Fresenius Kabi (the hall of fame) held a ceremony to honor Sr. Damien for her many years of donating platelets.

Hoxworth's Jackie Marschall and Sister Damien with the Hall of Fame award.
Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
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Hoxworth's Jackie Marschall and Sister Damien with the Hall of Fame award.

Sr. Damien drives an hour each way to give the platelets from her Sisters of St. Francis convent in Oldenburg, Indiana. And she's made plans to get rides when she is no longer is able to drive.

Sr. Damien has knee surgery coming up and convinced her surgeon to let her donate platelets two more times before her operation.

Another Do-Good Donor Honored

A total of 15 donors were inducted in the blood hall of fame in 2019. They include 19-year-old Theodore Hall, who gives to the Community Blood Center in Dayton. The college sophomore has already made 30 donations toward his lifetime goal of 1,000.

For 10 years, the Fairmont High School graduate competed in the Ohio Special Olympics. He wanted to give blood when he was 16 but was turned away.

"I kept getting deferred," he says. "Weight; blood pressure. I think it was 10 times." 

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